Accenture Poll Highlights Critical Leadership Challenges Facing UK Senior Executives

LONDON; Jan. 9, 2003 A confluence of factors will compel UK executives to focus on critical leadership challenges to realize business success, according to professionals in the Human Performance group at Accenture, the global management consulting and technology services organization.

This conclusion was based upon the findings of two recent Accenture polls. The first surveyed 100 C-level executives at blue-chip UK companies during mid-2002; the second, surveyed 300 employees of medium and large organisations conducted in fall 2002.

The first survey, conducted by the Talent Foundation on behalf of Accenture, revealed concerns among senior executives about their employees’ lack of understanding of corporate strategy and their future skills base.

Executives expressed concern that a significant percentage of their employees did not understand the direction of their business. In fact, 42 percent of respondents said that fewer than half of their employees understood their corporate strategy.

Further, senior executives indicated that while they generally believed that the majority of their employees had the right skills to meet current business objectives, they expected to undertake a fundamental overhaul of their employee skill base in the future. According to the poll, 93 percent of respondents intend to restructure the existing roles and responsibilities of their staff; 85 percent expect to hire new people to meet the skills they need; and 95 percent intend to retrain current staff to build the skills and capabilities needed in the future. Moreover, almost half the respondents identified leadership and management skills as the most critical skill deficiency that needed addressing.

The findings of the second survey, conducted by Accenture, focused on employee perceptions and revealed that just over 70 percent of employees did not trust the honesty of their senior management in running their companies.

“These findings highlight some significant challenges for leaders at all levels in an organisation,” said Peter Cheese, managing partner of Accenture’s Human Performance service line. “Fostering trust and aligning the organisation to the strategic goals to close the gap between strategy and execution are critical in driving business success. The recognition of the shortfall in leadership and management skills highlights where some of the key challenges lie, and while expanded training, motivational programs and improved communications are critical components, leadership capability at all levels is essential to business success.”

Survey Methodology
First Survey: The survey findings are consistent among all senior executives, regardless of company size, region and sector. 100 C-level executives in blue-chip UK companies were polled in a survey conducted by the Talent Foundation on behalf of Accenture.

Second Survey: Straw-poll of 300 sub-managerial employees conducted at companies with over 1000 employees.

About the Talent Foundation
The Talent Foundation is a global, independent, not for profit organisation created to provide pragmatic and innovative answers for the development of talent in the world of work. Acting as a bridge between research organisations and the wider business world, we translate the most valuable academic thinking into effective, practical tools that organisations can use directly in the workplace. The Talent Foundation programme encompasses a range of tools - from new business models and guidelines to benchmarking exercises and workshop-based courses.

About Accenture
Accenture is the world’s leading management consulting and technology services company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them realize their visions and create tangible value. With deep industry expertise, broad global resources and proven experience in consulting and outsourcing, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, alliances and technologies. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.6 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2002. Its home page is